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Bad Lamar

Lamar Jackson
Photo Credit: David Tulis, UPI
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Since losing to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, November 11, the Ravens have averaged just 14 points and 302 yards of offense per game. Now part of the offensive failures could be attributed to the fact that the Ravens had to take on the Bears without the services of Lamar Jackson. But if we’re being honest, the Ravens offense didn’t look a whole lot different with Tyler Huntley behind center than it did with Lamar during this limited sample size of games.

A big contributing factor to the offensive struggles lies in the inefficiencies of the Ravens offensive line. According to the highly respected analytics site Football Outsiders, the Ravens offensive line ranks 28th in the league and they’ve given up the second-most sacks in the league (36). These struggles were obvious in training camp and through 11 games. So nothing material has changed.

Making matters worse, the Ravens running backs lack juice – they are missing that explosive burst thanks to the injuries of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Without that take-it-to-the-house threat in the backfield, defenses can cheat a little more on Lamar and limit his opportunities as a runner. Add it up and Lamar is really operating with a limited arsenal. That said, he is also culpable. He is also partly responsible for the offensive struggles. On Sunday Night, statistically, he was awful while throwing four interceptions and posting a passer rating of 46.5, by far the worst of his career. But that doesn’t even tell the entire story.

Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies), a recommended follow on Twitter, utilizes the All-22 footage to highlight a few other failures from Lamar on Sunday Night that don’t show up in the stat line but certainly contributed to the offensive struggles. Take a few minutes which each of these clips and watch the plays develop. What you’ll see is a rather twitchy quarterback whose internal clock is racing (yes I get the O-line sucks) and consequently, he fails to keep his head up which ultimately costs him some big plays in the passing game.

[Related Article: Ravens Roundup]

The fans and sometimes even the media, look for a fall guy when things aren’t going as expected and that seems to inspire lazy narratives such as, “Greg Roman can’t develop an effective passing attack” or “the league has figured out Lamar Jackson”. These video clips alone, suggest that schematically the passing game is there. They also suggest that defenses haven’t really figured out Lamar and the Ravens offense. It’s more about Lamar making the most of the opportunities presented. He just needs to slow down that frenetic pace.

That said, it does make you wonder how spectacular the Ravens offense could be with some additions to the offensive line and the return of Messrs. Dobbins and Edwards.

But that’s a story for 2022.

Taking advantage of 2021 opportunities like those above will help the Ravens THIS season.

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